This community atmosphere also filters into the MBA program, where the deep roster of activities are paired with a tight-knit small community. “I wanted to attend a graduate program at a large institution with a multitude of clubs, sporting events, and state-of-the-art facilities, writes Natalie Shuntich. “Indiana University checked all of these boxes and had a relatively small MBA program where I could get to know fellow MBA students…Of all the programs I visited, Kelley was by far the most welcoming. The students could not stop talking about how much they loved Bloomington! My experience is that when you are at a place you don’t like, you either air ‘all your dirty laundry’ or stay mum, and I did not see that here.”
Over the past year, Kelley has also focused on investing in its strengths. That starts with student support. Notably, says Rebecca Cook, the school hired an associate director of MBA alumni and an associate director of diversity and inclusion. In addition, Kelley has further beefed up its Graduate Career Services staff to offer further coaching and employee networking to students.
“Kelley has had a very highly rated career services office for many years and this addition will make it even stronger and more beneficial as our students build out their career goals,” Cook adds.
A TOP-RANKED CAREER CENTER
How strong is Kelley’s career services? In the 2018 Financial Times survey, it ranked 2nd in the world for student and alumni satisfaction. In fact, Kelley alumni enjoy lifetime career coaching and continuing education – a benefit that yields returns long after tuition is repaid. Not surprisingly, Kelley’s career support was a major attraction for a first-year MBA class looking to shift or speed up their career trajectory.
“I was very impressed with the staff at Career Services and the investments Kelley has made in developing the Graduate Career Services team,” explains Ashley Lagaron. “At the visit weekend, the staff had encyclopedic knowledge of different student’s challenges, personalities, interviews and experiences. The size of the team and the quality of personalized coaching students receive made me feel confident that they will help me find a career I am passionate about.”
To call the career services team ‘hands-on’ might be an understatement. Before classes start, Kelley first-years must complete 30 hours of pre-work, ranging from laying out career goals to identifying strengths and weaknesses. Once on campus, they are assigned a dedicated career coach, who offers everything from guidance on writing cover letters and choosing internships to conducting mock interviews.
PROGRAM OPENS WITH SELF-ANALYSIS
These coaches aren’t just industry warhorses or coaches-in-name-only, either. They are certified coaches. Translation: they have undergone over hundreds of hours of training and passed certification exams from both the CTI (the Coaches Training Institute) and ICF (International Coaching Federation). Best of all, there are no limits on coaching hours, with many students meeting with their coach once a week. Even more, Kelley career coaches aren’t the only source of support for students. The Academy directors and 2nd-Year mentors also pick up the slack…along with developing group and individualized programming for students.
“When I visited Kelley and met with representatives from the Graduate Career Services (GCS), I really liked their emphasis on coaching and mentoring. I was attracted to the layers of support provided by GCS,” says Molly Boschan. “In addition to a GCS Coach, I also have access to a second-year MBA Peer Coach and an Academy Instructor. Furthermore, I have enjoyed GCS’s emphasis on personal growth along with professional growth. I feel like I could not be in better hands for this crucial part of my career.”
This personalized, coaching culture is personified by the school’s Me, Inc. orientation. A required two-week module, Me, Inc. is a sweeping self-examination where students connect to their past, identify what motivated their choices, and truly absorb the lessons they took from them. In other words, students reflect on what got them here…so they can project where they ultimately want to go. Think of the module as the equivalent to the military’s “break ‘em down to build them back up’ ethos – only Kelley facilitators pose questions and play devil’s advocate over yelling and forced marches.
LEARNING HOW TO PACKAGE YOURSELF
In Me, Inc., students also develop a personal career story that clearly shows employers how their narrative is relevant to the next steps in their careers. As part of the module, students are introduced to Kelley’s DNIP process – Discover, Network, Interview, and Perform – to help them envision their future and make the most of the next 21 months of school. All the while, they’ll receive feedback from coaches, second-years, and their first-year group mates to help them pinpoint their gaps and develop authentic personal brands. In the end, students will come away from Me, Inc. with an unforgettable awareness of their motivations and preferences, as well as training on key skills like interpersonal communication and teamwork.
Will Weber describes such professional development as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” It is Kelley’s trademark, a mentoring culture that begins long before students step onto campus. “The Kelley MBA program fosters a culture in which its students, alumni, faculty and staff mentor incoming and current students, notes Robert Sasaki. “Prior to officially signing with the Kelley MBA Program, I already had alumni and current Kelley MBA students taking me under their wing and helping me with my career search, networking and interview preparation despite not having officially committed to the Kelley School of Business.”
Make no mistake: Me, Inc. can be emotionally punishing at time. In the end, it is a proven formula – one that ultimately helps students develop the strategic thinking and leadership skills to thrive after graduation, says alum Tyler Whitsett.
“Not only did they understand what it took for me to re-position my brand and sell myself as a career switcher, but they also placed an extreme emphasis on mindfulness and being self-aware — a component of the career journey that is often overlooked because of focusing to technical skill development.”
ACADEMIES DELIVER INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC LEARNING
The technical side is left to the core curriculum and the Academies. Unlike most core curriculum, the Kelley core is integrated, meaning nine business areas are woven together and taught by faculty teams as one course. The upshot? Students learn how areas like marketing, accounting, economics, and operations are linked together and influence each other’s decision-making – no different than a business organization. It is also a truly performance-based curriculum, with students receiving a pass-fail grade for the 15-week core.
Building off the core, the Academies enable students to apply what they learn directly to their chosen field. Here, students choose from one of seven industry-focused options: Business Marketing, Consulting, Consumer Marketing, Capital Markets, Supply Chain, Strategic Finance, and PLUS Life Sciences. Project-driven, the Academies provide first-years with on-the-job experience, along with treks to gain insights from industry leaders.
“It is an experiential learning environment in which you get to explore real-life projects and issues happening at various companies,” says Molly Boschan. “You also learn about the numerous career path options, receive hands-on advising to find what is best for your specific goals, and network with leading professionals within the industry.”
Students also participate in “Academy Fridays,” a way for students to apply their MBA toolkit to local initiatives. Kelley even offers 2nd Year Academies in Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership to further deepen students’ experience and network. Such programming says Natalie Shuntich, is why many students view the Kelley MBA as a “chance to design their own major.”
To gain further hands-on experience, Kelley MBAs also complete a GLOBASE excursion. Held during the spring, GLOBASE pairs student teams with an overseas startup venture or non-profit to address issues like boosting production speed, entering new markets or reducing environmental damage. As part of the experience, students spend a week overseas to expose themselves to international business norms in nations ranging from India to Ghana to Guatemala. Such programming left a deep impression with alumni like David Hanger, a 2018 P&Q MBA To Watch who helped lead the school’s first GLOBASE partnership in China.
“It was a blue ocean,” he recalls. “We built relationships with several partners in Dali, Yunnan Province, who would become our clients during a seven-week class and week-long, in-country engagement. Dali is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The scenery, the students, our clients, and our team made this an unforgettable experience. Our mission was to build bridges with China and to make the “I” in IU stand for International. I believe we accomplished both.”
STILL FIGURING OUT WHAT THEY WANT TO DO
What can you expect the Class of 2020 to do after graduation? Jason Muir Clarke, for one intends to return to Latin America to launch social responsibility programs…if he doesn’t pursue a Ph.D. first. Long-term, Ashley Lagaron pictures herself opening a series end-of-life facilities that simple improvements like giving terminally ill patients plants to water as a way to bring dignity and joy to their final days.
That said, Paul Brar – a Teach for America veteran – isn’t quite what he wants to do after graduation. In true Kelley career transition mode, he knows the type of company where he’d like to work.
“I would like to be seen as an industry expert, preferably in the nonprofit sector. I hope to lead teams that take on challenging projects to reshape how organizations operate and grow. Personally, I hope to have multiple opportunities to learn from other leaders and continue to contribute positively to my community.”
What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.
|Molly Boschan||Philadelphia, PA||Bucknell University||Michael Kors Holdings|
|Paul Brar||Downers Grove, IL||Knox College||D.C. Public Schools|
|Ashley C. Emerole||New York City, NY||CUNY Hunter College||New York City Department of Investigation (DOI)|
|Jatin Gupta||Jaipur, India||Punjab Engineering College|
|Lesley Ho||Lafayette, CA||University of California at Berkeley||Sanctuary Clothing|
|Allen Jarboe||Bloomington, IN||Purdue University||United States Navy|
|Ashley Lagaron||Miami, FL||University of Florida||Civis Analytics|
|Jasson Muir Clarke||San José, Costa Rica||University of Costa Rica||World Animal Protection|
|Robert Sasaki||Fresno, CA||California State University, Fresno||Ernst & Young|
|Natalie Shuntich||Lemoyne, PA||United States Coast Guard Academy||United States Coast Guard|
|Tom Steward||Indianapolis, IN||Indiana University||Ford Motor Company|
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne, IN||Wabash College||Deloitte|